Sunday 21 June 2015

Cheltenham Music Festival - 70 years and counting

Cheltenham Music Festival
70 years after the first Cheltenham Music Festival, the festival returns this year with artistic director Meurig Bowen's 8th festival running from 30 June to 11 July 2015 in venues around Cheltenham. As ever, contemporary music as at the festival's core with 22 premieres at this festival including a deconstruction of 1970s Disco by Graham Fitkin, Rolf Hind’s new work for contemporary Gamelan ensemble inspired by recent travels in Bhutan, Entanglement, a one-act chamber opera by Charlotte Bray about Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain, new pieces by Joe Cutler and Thomas Strønen for Trish Clowes' ensemble the Emulsion Sinfonietta, and works by Peter Wiegold, Jonathan Dove and Matthew Martin. But mainstream is well represented too with Rachmaninov's Second Symphony and Mahler's mammoth Third Symphony.

Artists appearing at the festival include Edward Gardner, Sarah Connolly, Alina Ibragimova, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Marc-André Hamelin as well as emerging artists like conductor Ben Gernon, pianist Martin James Bartlett, accordionist Ksenija Sidorova.

The year 1945, the year of that first festival, is one of the festival themes with works from that year by Richard Strauss, Britten, Poulenc, Howells, Tippett, Shostakovich and Messiaen. Other themes include Paris, and films performed with live soundtracks. This latter theme will present 1928 silent film Jeanne d’Arc with live music from the Orlando Consort, and Hitchock's Psycho with Bernard Hermann's iconic score performed by the Britten Sinfonia. A further theme, dance, gives us New English Ballet Theatre’s first performance outside of London with music by Glass, Mussorgsky, Villa-Lobos, Beethoven and Janacek, and a performance by accordionist Ksenija Sidorova of her contemporary tango project with Rambert dancer/choreographer Kirill Burlov.

Full information from the festival website.

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